Tag Archives: LGBT

2018.50 – The Porcupine of Truth

Book hangover, 100%. The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg was phenomenal.

I read Honestly Ben in April, which prompted me to see what else he wrote. This title intrigued me, I mean, what is a porcupine of truth?!

Turns out The Porcupine of Truth is a magical creature that represents truth, healing, and love.

Carson is spending the summer in Billings, Montana with his mom, taking care of his dying and estranged dad. There, he meets Aisha, who has just been kicked out of her house after her dad finds out she’s a lesbian. Together, they embark on a crazy road trip, trying to find Carson’s grandfather (his father’s father) who suddenly disappeared from his father’s life when his father was a child. Along the way, they meet interesting people, many of whom provide some excellent life advice.

This book is heartbreaking, thoughtful, goofy and hopeful–often within the same paragraph. And, it spoke to my heart through puns and dorky jokes! Seriously, I need to be friends with Carson.

I highly recommend this book! And, I know my students will love it too!

Bill Kongisberg’s next book, The Music of What Happens, comes out on January 29, 2019–it’s already on my list to read next year!

2018.37 – Honestly Ben

Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg is definitely in my tops list for 2018!

I read Openly Straight back in 2014, and loved it. I’ve recommended it to friends multiple times. So, when I found out it has a companion novel, I jumped for joy!

This is one of the YA worlds I wish I could teleport into, too bad Natick is an all-boys boarding school. Ben is just so friendly and approachable, even though he has his own share of issues (don’t we all?). And Rafe, Albie, and Toby seem like so much fun to hang around. Plus, Hannah is a strong female figure, who shines a light on inappropriate boy behavior.

There were so many awesome references to other things I love, especially the work of Brené Brown. I appreciate that Konigsberg brings in Brown’s research on vulnerability, and integrates it into the book. For a reader who hasn’t read any Brené Brown, this can be truly life altering. I highly recommend starting with her book Daring Greatly and her TED Talk.

Books I love mentioning other books I love? Yes please! Cue the happy dance! At one point, Rafe was reading Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. I read it back in 2015, during my big David Levithan kick. (In case you’re wondering, there was a parallel John Green and Rainbow Rowell kick, that led to me reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which introduced me to David Levithan.)

By the end of the book, I kept looking up and realizing I wasn’t in their world. Total book hangover.

2018.11 – The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

I stayed up until midnight last night to finish The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson. I was about 40% through when I picked it up yesterday evening, and couldn’t put it down until I was done. I had to know what happened to Andrew!

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley, by Shaun David Hutchinson

Andrew’s whole family died at the hospital, and now he secretly lives there, hiding in an unfinished wing, hanging with nurses and patients, working in the cafeteria, and creating his Patient F comic. When he meets Rusty, who was burned over half his body by hateful classmates, Andrew is forced to confront his reality in the past, present, and future.

One really nifty part of this book was the Patient F comic book was sprinkled between chapters. It was fun to change up the book with the undercurrent of the Patient F story–and it brought to light a lot of Andrew’s struggles and roadblocks.

Now that I’ve read two of Shaun David’s Hutchinson’s books, I will say that his books are weird, different, and perfect. Both The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley and We Are the Ants are like nothing I’ve read before. In his Twitter bio, he says he is a “Writer of weird books about queer teens.”

I absolutely love that these books don’t follow the predictable YA patterns of love stories or dystopian words, fall a little outside the norm, and are entirely relatable to the darkness that lurks within each of us. Both of these books confront real issues of love, death, grief, despair, friendship, and not conforming to society’s “normal.” And, I’m 110% sure that these are books some of my students are wishing for, but don’t know exist in this world–recommendations happening on Monday morning.

I just requested At the Edge of the Universe from the public library–they don’t have it in the ebook collection, so yay real physical books! Our library doesn’t have his newest book, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza (released February 6, 2018) in their catalog, but it’s in stock at the Barnes & Noble 5 minutes from my house. That’s enough of a reason to get dressed on a Saturday morning.

I can’t get enough!